Turkey has begun taking legal action for the return of a 5,000-year-old Anatolian marble figure, which is currently up for sale at a New York auction house.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul Friday, Culture Minister Nabi Avci said, "We've taken steps in order to stop the sale of this work of art and inform the possible recipient that this … was abducted from Turkey."
The Guennol Stargazer, which dates back to the third millennium BC, is regarded as one of best examples of Kiliya-type Anatolian marble female idols.
The nine-inch figure -- which is thought to have been taken from Gallipoli, Turkey -- has an estimated sale price of $3 million.
A U.S. court ruled that Christie's Auction House cannot hand the work of art over to the recipient until a final decision is made, according to Avci.
"We are going to present the necessary scientific reports showing the statute belongs to Turkey within the two-month time frame the court gave us," the minister said, adding: "We are pursuing our efforts for the return of this work of art," Avci added.